Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The hawks must come regularly, because the feeders aren't as busy as they used to be.

There is still the occasional Starling and Grackle - although I haven't seen a Cowbird since the last post.
There are four squirrels that seem content to eat from the ground.

The deer clean up every other day or so.  
There is a group of three does who eat from the ground - even close to the house.  
They alternate days sharing the task with a lone buck - who knows how to tip the perch feeder out in the yard. He doesn't touch the one close to the window, so there is always food for the earliest rising Cardinals and Titmice.

This doe found the last bit of pumpkin I put out after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Invaders Leave

The mixed flock of Starlings, Grackles, Cowbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds were here until earlier this week when a Sharp-shinned Hawk harvested a Cowbird.
It was tough to get him in focus because he kept at his work.

A poor little Downy Woodpecker was caught at the suet feeder.  He didn't make a move for at least 20 minutes.  It was so cold I was afraid he would freeze.  I tried to flush him by knocking on the window, but he just blinked at me.

I couldn't bear the suspense, so I went about my business. He was gone when I checked back ten minutes later.
It took the hawk about 45 minutes to finish eating. Only feathers remained.
The flock has moved on and not returned.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bird Invaders

The last few years I wait to put out my seed feeders until the first snow fall - in an attempt to keep the sparrows away.  
I have been feeding a little over a week now and have enjoyed seeing the Titmice, Woodpeckers, Cardinals and Chickadees.

Two days ago a flock of what I carelessly thought were Starlings drained the feeders in 2 hours - ugh.
My friend Cathy was good enough to consult her birding friends for help and on their advice I switched to perch feeders. 
Unfortunately, most of the birds perched just fine.
On closer inspection today, I noticed that this is a mixed flock - with very few Starlings.

There are Red-winged Blackbirds.

And Cowbirds

And Grackles.  
I didn't know the Red-winged Blackbirds and Cowbirds stayed during the winter, but they do.
I didn't put out seed yesterday, but with the temperatures dropping, today I relented.
Besides, they all seemed much more beautiful in the sunshine.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Marriage Saver

We went to the Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm yesterday.  
While we waited for our friends Denise and Robin to arrive we looked at the tree stands they sell.  Duke Jr. walked over and told us he called them marriage savers.

They drill a hole in the bottom of the tree and you just set the tree on a large peg.

It was so much easier than using a wrench to screw rusty bolts into the stump (my job) while someone else gets impatient holding the tree up (Dan's job). 
Thanks, Duke!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

End of the Season

October 28 was our last day monitoring for the season.
We checked on some pinweed in Campbell's Prairie.  
I always pause when we are in Ruta's little corner.

Then we went to Ostrich Barrens to look for Forked Three Awned Grass.  
While searching we happened upon this moss growing right in the sand.

This fungus was glowing orange in the morning sun on all the nearby logs.

Forked Triple Awned Grass is only a few inches high.  It grows in open sand.  I had no luck photographing it, but I couldn't resist a picture of everyone counting.
At far left is Denise measuring the area with her GPS. Next is Jerry.  Larry is standing. To his right is Diane and to her right is Karen.

We had our fall meeting yesterday and capped off the season with lunch at Mancy's Italian.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Last Sunday an Osprey had his fish lunch on a big limb of the dead Ash.
When he was finished he gave himself a nice grooming.

I am so happy we did not cut down this tree after the emerald ash borers ended it's life.
The birds I can remember seeing on it's branches include:
White breasted Nuthatches
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers
Red bellied Woodpeckers
Great Blue Herons
Belted Kingfishers
Bald Eagles
Turkey Vultures
Red tailed Hawks
Wood Ducks
Song Sparrow
Eastern Kingbirds

Friday, October 21, 2016

Butterfly Meadow

Today is cold and rainy and miserable.  I am waiting to see if we will monitor.
Last Friday was crisp and clear and beautiful.  There was a little frost on the low lying plants and a bit of mist in the air as we headed out to Butterfly Meadow.

Frost on the plants, including Legget's Pinweed 
(small seed heads mostly on the bottom left of the photo)

Frost and mist beyond the Oaks

The leaves were just beginning to change.

Dew outlines a garden spider web.

There number of Allegheny Ant mounds have been increasing over the years.  
These ants place formic acid on the top of their mounds to discourage plant growth.

Spiranthes species orchid
Much of the area is a wet meadow.

Bottle gentians were seen for the first time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bottle Gentian

Last Friday Jerry and I went out to monitor by ourselves.  
For the third week in a row, we tried and failed to find the rarest of Ohio plants, the Prairie Gentian.  
There was a new woodchuck den in the vicinity of where the plant has always been seen.  

Next we went to Campbell Prairie to look at the Bottle Gentian.  It had already been counted, but was too pretty to miss taking a peak at.

One of the last things left to monitor was the Thyme-leaved Pinweed, so we headed to Badger Barrens.  
The Winged Sumac along the forest edges was starting to turn.

These yellow mushrooms contrast with the leaf litter.

A sandy field at Badger Barrens

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fringed Gentian

Yesterday we went to Wiregrass Lake to monitor.
Giant Sunflower was blooming.  It is not endangered, but beautiful none-the-less.

And Big
(It is in the center of the photograph - twice as tall as the surrounding plants)
Shortly after taking this, Penny stepped on a yellow jacket nest (as she is want to do).  We had to run all the way back to the parking lot to get away from them.  No one was stung - probably because it was such a cool morning.

So, we decided to walk down the road to a field we have previously named "Gentian Meadow".
Along the way we marveled at the changes we have seen over the years on this particular corridor site.
There has been quite a bit of land management - tearing out swaths of Buckthorn and topical herbicide application.  It is now open and filled with native wet meadow plants.

Privately owned and unmanaged land nearby looks like this.  
Buckthorn completely fills the understory.

Sure enough, the Fringed Gentian was in all it's glory.

All through the meadow

The Ladies Tresses were blooming as well.

As we left for home a beautiful Dragonfly bid us farewell.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Foggy Morning

We monitored Great Lakes Goldenrod along both sides of the Oak Openings Parkway this morning.

Jerry, Denise, Diane and Larry

In the fog

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Real Pokemon

Patrick stayed with us again last week and we continued our Pokemon adventures.    
One of my favorites is Venonat.  I caught him at a Mudhen's game.

Oddish is a grass type,  so we most often saw him on our many trips to the Metroparks.

We ran into this guy on one of the paths at Wildwood.  
He's a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.  
The theory is that he's trying to imitate a snake to scare away birds who might eat him.  
Patrick wasn't buying it.
I thought he looked like a real world Pokemon.